Rugby Union: Wymondham 17 Holt 25: Red & Blacks beaten in first game at new home
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk rugby star Tom Youngs was the guest of honour as Wymondham Rugby Club opened their new £4.5m ground.
The 30-acre site is three times larger than the club's old home at Tuttles Lane and Saturday's opening was the culmination of a 15 year campaign to move.
'We've made it - literally!' said club chairman Andrew Kilby. 'So many people have helped us over the years to turn this from a pipe dream into a plan and now finally a reality. It's fantastic - we've gone from having among the worst facilities of any rugby club in East Anglia to the best!'
Leicester Tigers captain Youngs added: 'Rugby is a great sport in bringing the community together and it's very rewarding to see the results of all the hard work that has gone into developing Wymondham's new home. I'm delighted to be able to share in the occasion.'
Wymondham marked the official opening with a pre-match lunch for members followed by a dinner with guest speaker Kyran Bracken, one of England's Rugby World Cup winners from 2003.
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The game was a fitting one to mark the opening of Wymondham's impressive new Barnard Fields ground, with a large crowd kept well entertained for the full 80 minutes.
League leaders Holt looked very much the part in the first half, with a strong team performance putting them in control.
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Wymondham seemed to be affected by the pressure of the day but they improved as the game went on and reduced the arrears with a couple of tries towards the end.
Holt No 10 Tom Jackson controlled the game with his clever distribution and accurate kicking into space. He was soon on the scoreboard when he sliced through the home defence to become the first player to score at the new venue. The conversion failed but was soon followed by a try from Geoff Flather, converted by James Wyatt, to increase Holt's lead to 12-0.
At this point Holt were dominant but they were not able convert their possession into points. Wymondham were unable to settle into any rhythm due to their high penalty count, one of which was converted by Wyatt to stretch the lead still further.
Wymondham made their first serious incursion into the Holt half just before half-time and were rewarded with a try from a well executed catch and drive following a line-out five metres out, with Josh Wright scoring the Red & Blacks' first points at their new home.
Holt went further ahead early in the second half with a Wyatt penalty to make the score 25-5 but were soon down to 13 men when they were penalised with two yellow cards. The penalty count started to work in the hosts' favour and the resultant pressure brought its rewards with a try for No 10 Charlie Delaney, which he converted.
The final score of the game was a try for Wymondham hooker Tom Masters, which was not converted.
Winning this top of the table clash meant Holt extended their lead to three points, with Wymondham dropping to third behind Ely. The Norfolk Brewhouse man of the match for Holt was prop Craig Gutteridge who was making his first team debut. Centre Mel Gilmour valiantly carried on for the visitors after a leg injury which had to be operated on after the game.